Cervical arthrodesis is a surgical technique used to treat some pathologies, such as herniated discs, spine osteoarthritis, cartilage wear off between the vertebral discs or the gradual aging that affects the intervertebral functions known as spondylosis.
It is a procedure in the cervical region, so affectations of the spine are in the neck region. This surgery is also known as cervical fusion because it involves joining two or more vertebrae by removing the intervertebral material and inserting a plate and metal screws in its place.
Cervical arthrodesis aims to eliminate pain and instability of the spine, improving its function and giving the patient a better quality of life. Cervical fusion is also performed to treat cervical spinal stenosis and cervical spine fractures.
It is done as a last resort, after other alternatives have been tried, such as physiotherapy treatments, pain relievers and corticosteroids. In the event that those have not worked, we proceed to surgery.
During the consultation process with the doctor, diagnostic imaging tests will be performed, such as X-rays, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It depends on the information needed to assess the severity of the spinal injury and determine the best surgical technique.
Cervical fusion is performed starting with an incision in front of the cervical spine, followed by removal of the affected intervertebral disc and any bone material that may be causing the nerve compression. A metal plate and screws are inserted to hold the vertebrae together and fix the new prosthesis, the final phase is to begin post-surgical recovery and bone healing.
During the recovery period, the patient must use devices prescribed by the doctor to have a good evolution. A cervical collar is typically worn for several weeks to immobilize the spine and allow the bone and tissue to heal properly. For this reason, surgery is as important as your own care during recovery, so that the best possible healing occurs. They may also need physiotherapy to recover cervical strength and mobility, probably not 100% mobility will return, but physiotherapy will definitely help to rehabilitate and learn about the new physical reach to avoid another injury.
Cervical arthrodesis is a very important and complex spinal surgery. In short, it is used to treat a variety of conditions of the cervical spine. If your spine specialist has recommended this surgery, make sure you fully understand the benefits and risks involved and follow all prior and post-operative instructions carefully. With good care and rehabilitation, cervical fusion can help relieve pain and improve your quality of life.